How to use BY

BY can be a preposition and an adverb. 

  • They lived in a small house by the road. (preposition).   
  • Clive was passing by the department store. (adverb)

Here are 10 different uses of BY:

  • By as a means of transport
  • By to show how something is done
  • By to show how something happens
  • By with adjectives
  • By with time expressions
  • By meaning “next to”
  • By with gerund
  • By for measurements and amounts
  • By with reflexive pronoun
  • By with passive

By as a means of transport

We can use BY to say how people travel.

  • People in London usually commute by train.
  • Shall we go by car or by bus?
  • They went to America by sea.

By to show how something is done

  • Can I pay by credit card?
  • We’ll contact you by email.
  • Would you send us the proposal by fax?

By to show how something happens

  • I met my high school teacher by accident.
  • Sorry, I took your phone by mistake.
  • Stuart became a musician by chance.

By with adjectives

  • Sara was impressed by the sheer size of the temple.
  • He was delighted by the news.
  • Everybody in the courtroom was shocked by the evidence.

By with time expressions

We can use BY with a time expression such as tomorrow, next week/month, etc. for deadlines.

  • I’m supposed to finish this report by Monday.
  • Milly, make sure you get home by 10.
  • We’re going away on Friday and we’ll be back by the end of February.

By meaning “next to”

  • Your bag is in the hall by the door.
  • Michael was standing by his wife in the picture.
  • There is a nice Italian restaurant by the river.

By with gerund

We can use by with a gerund to say how something is done.

  • He makes a living by working in an office.
  • You can get fit by doing exercise regularly.
  • Mira wants to broaden her horizons by travelling.

By for measurements and amounts

We can use by to talk about measurements and amounts.

  • My room is four meters by five meters.
  • These people are paid by the hour.
  • The price of oil increased by 3%.

By with a reflexive pronoun

We can use by with the reflexive pronoun meaning “alone”.

  • I prepared the party all by myself.
  • You shouldn’t be walking by yourself at night. I’ll give you a lift.
  • They spent all weekend by themselves.

By with passive

We use by in passive sentences to say who is the doer of the action.

  • The book was written by James Joyce.
  • The theatre was opened by the president himself.
  • The photo was taken by our famous photographer.
How to use BY
How to use BY

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1 Comment

Alain Guerrero · 2 Jan 2023 at 11:56 pm

Thank you very much for share.i find it very usefull

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